Saint James got a phone for Christmas because it was time. It’s a cheap little phone, not a smart phone. He can only use it to text and call. This way, when he roams, we can reach him and he can reach us. For the first couple months the phone was languishing somewhere in his room, usually out of batteries. Now it’s fully charged, in his pocket or in his hand at all times.

A few days ago, Dash heard it vibrating when he was saying good night to Saint James. Saint James played dumb and pretended it wasn’t his until Dash found it on his nightstand and saw that there were texts from a bunch of girls. They had a chuckle, Saint James was a little red-faced, but no biggie. I tried to look at the messages later that night, but he had deleted everything. Foiled.

Next came the talk about not deleting messages because we need to make sure everything is kosher, followed by the talk about being a gentleman and a good guy and a good friend in person, but especially in writing.

He seems reasonably open to our talks, although the texting is definitely on the upswing. Dash and I are doing the dance – all a’dither with each other about our kid texting with girls, but totally chill about it with Saint James, because it’s no big deal – you know, guys and girls should be friends. We’re trying to convey the rules and parameters, while giving him space and respect, while still letting him know we have an eagle eye on him, while allowing him to feel like his own person, while spying on him, without him feeling like we’re spying because we’re not really spying because everything we’ve read and heard says parents need to monitor this stuff, while not embarrassing him, while embarrassing him just enough. It’s a pickle and I, for one, am floundering.


This morning I picked up his phone to see if he had stopped erasing messages per our talk and I was horrified to find that the texting with many girls has jelled into an awful lot of texting with one girl. An AWFUL lot. And aside from the purposefully atrocious spelling and grammar, these texts were surprisingly substantive. They texted about books, movies, soccer, the new kid, homework and I had to stop reading because it just went on and on and on. Dash came home from work and I was in a state.

I don’t know how to feel. I know this is normal. I know this is good. I’m happy he’s able to have a seemingly normal friendship with a girl at the ripe old age of 11. I’m happy he’s a social creature. I’m happy someone else gets to see what a good kid he is. But but but . . .

I just feel like I’m standing on a cliff, the winds of change whipping fiercely around me. And I’m ill-prepared. This is my baby boy we’re talking about.

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